Food Network star Duff Goldman has created some works of art on "Ace of Cakes." Today, 10 Chattanooga-area pastry chefs will show him what they have to offer at Formal Affair, a bridal and event expo at Chattanooga Convention Center.
This year's event showcases 127 vendors displaying their services and products in 160 booths. Engaged couples, or anyone planning a gala event, can comparison-shop vendors in one convenient location, without having to drive all over town.
The cakes, of course, will be a highlight of the day. The local bakers are tasked with creating the best groom's cake with a Chattanooga theme. Goldman and a panel of local judges will consider theme, creativity and taste to choose a winner.
Although the display cakes won't be cut, Formal Affair guests can give the contestants' work their own taste-test. Each of the bakers will serve samples of the same cake flavors used in their contest entry at their vendor booths.
Below are some bridal industry trends that will be in evidence at today's expo.
TRENDS IN GOWNS
"I love this season. It has some of the best designs in bridal fashions I've seen," says Emily Goodin, owner of Boutique Couture.
Goodin's bridal and formalwear boutique will be among six retailers presenting fashions for the bridal party at 4:30 p.m. at Formal Affair. Here are some of this season's trends to watch:
- For the bride: "The fit-and-flare is the silhouette this season, although the ballgown skirt is making a comeback," said Goodin.
"The fit-and-flare is fitted through the body to about the hip, then flares into the skirt. It's not as extreme as a mermaid design. Any type of one-shoulder design remains popular as well.
"Gowns are very feminine with flowers, ruffles or feathers on the skirt," she said.
- For the bridesmaid: "The majority of brides are choosing short lengths for their bridesmaids. Color trends are purple, teal, hot pink and orange combinations, or leaf green."
'OLD' IS NEW IN RINGS
Jessica Byrd, an assistant manager at Kennedy Jewelry, says engagement rings with vintage-style settings are popular this year.
"Princess-cut diamonds are the most popular, set in either white gold or platinum," she said. "You have a lot of pave-set diamond mountings. It's an older style that's new, usually worn with a matching diamond band."
Men are choosing tungsten bands for their durability and the range of colors, she said.
"Tungsten is a metal known for being unscratchable, so a lot of men go for that because they are a little more rough on their rings. Tungsten bands come in different shades, and we carry all of them."
-- Compiled by Susan Pierce
COUPLES CUSTOMIZE THEIR BIG DAY
When it comes to weddings, event planners say, more and more couples are following the old Burger King commercial that promised to let customers "have it your way."
Alisha Fox, owner of Foxy Events, said couples are no longer bound by tradition.
"It's not that etiquette is out the door," she said. "It's making it about ... the couple."
More and more couples are ditching church ceremonies and going for alternative venues. The Tennessee Aquarium has been a popular location for both weddings and receptions, she said.
Tina Player of TP Events said couples generally want a party atmosphere to pervade. That might even include partying, getting married and returning to partying, she said. Signature mixed drinks are a wedding party trend, she said.
"They're in love," she said of the couples, "but they want to have fun with their family and friends."
-- Compiled by Clint Cooper
If You Go
- What: Formal Affair.
- When: 1-5:30 p.m. today.
- Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza.
- Admission: $10.
- 3 p.m. Q&A with "Ace of Cake's" Duff Goldman
- 4-4:30 p.m. Judging of Chattanooga's Cake Ace groom's cake contest
- 4:30 p.m. Bridal fashion show
- 5 p.m. Grand-prize drawing, sponsor giveaways
- 5:15-5:30 p.m. Announcement of Chattanooga's Cake Ace
Cake ACE competitors
- 212 Market
- Cafe LeMont/Lady J Cakes
- Cake Boutique
- Chattanooga Cupcakes
- Couture Cakes and Confections
- Cup a Dee Cakes
- Heirloom Catering
- Mountain Oaks Event Center/Chapel
- Piece a Cake Bakery
- Sweet Angel Cakes